June 30, 2008

Family Fodder / More Greatest Hits

Artist - Family Fodder
Title - More Greatest Hits
Hometown - UK
Label - Jungle Records
Street Date - Out Now

RIYL - quality 80's girl post punk, This Heat, The Envelopes, electro-dub-psych pop with silly lyrics, Blondie tributes, early B-52s, song titles The Vaselines would covet, Siouxsie with a sense of humor, The Sparks, Talking Heads
The Hits - 2 discs and very little to complain about in the bunch but disc 1 is the best.
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale - Major

I hate when this happens. Family Fodder is yet another group I should have certainly heard about before this decade. I heard a few clips via a recent Other Music email and now I am obsessed and in love. The CD arrived at my doorstep today and I am 100% baffled as to how this band didn't make it to the hipster status that bands like Liliput and Young Marble Giants are enjoying in present day.

This collection is a complete anthology of the band and don't let the TERRIBLE cover art scare you away. I don't know what they were thinking there.

Lastly when you put disc 2 into your computer or what have you, the track listing is is correct up until track 12 but then the order is wrong for 13 -15. Use the back of the CD case for the proper list of songs. It looks like it is wrong in iTunes so consider yourself warned. The correct list for the second disc is:

13) Chocolate
14) My Baby Takes Valium
15) Banana

I am short on time and energy to do a full review of this 2xCD today so here is what allmusic has to say - even better, it was written by my friend Daphne who I didn't know wrote for the site, YAY!

by Daphne Carr

"Family Fodder was less a band than a never-ending collective of musicians messing with tapes in the basement of a London flat. Begun in 1979 by Alig Pearce, a label called Small Wonder released their first 7" when they still went by the name Te Deum. (Interestingly, the other two singles released concurrently by the label were the first Cure single and Bauhaus' "Bela Lugosi's Dead.") The band was led by odd splices of tape, dub effects, and Dominique Levillain's chanteuse vocals. Influenced by Syd Barrett, the Kinks, and This Heat, Pearce moved his compositions from psychedelics to drones to proto-electronic music full of cut-up location recordings. The band thought themselves to be very serious musicians but the music takes on a light air due to the splicing and humor throughout. The group toured three times between 1981 and 1982. In 1983, Pearce borrowed some of the band's record advance money from their new label, Fresh, to fund another project's tour. The resulting album, All Styles, came out of these diminished funds and was scratchy, ill planned, and home-recorded. It sold only about 100 copies when released. Pearce went on to be a professional accordionist and in 1989 reformed Family Fodder with Levillain, Hobbs, and Wilson. He also tours under the name Johnny Human. With the 1999 reissue by Dark Beloved Cloud, Family Fodder has found a new audience with avant and new wave enthusiasts."

There is also a great deal of info about the band here.

These aren't real videos of the band but at least you can hear a few songs:

The Dirtbombs

Live at Other Music. Mick Collins from the Gories ...now in the Dirtbombs is a rock God...an absolute legend.

See Bjork + Sigur Ros

From jambase.com

NAT GEO MUSIC TO WEBCAST BJÖRK AND SIGUR RÓS CONCERTLIVE FROM ICELAND ON SATURDAY, JUNE 28Fans can see concert only at worldmusic.nationalgeographic.com

Nat Geo Music, the music division of National Geographic Entertainment, will Webcast an open-air Náttúra concert live from Iceland on Saturday, June 28, 2008. Two of the world's most important and visionary musical entities, Björk and Sigur Rós, will headline the free concert.

The event will be available exclusively at worldmusic.nationalgeographic.com from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET (begins at 8 p.m. BST/London or 7 p.m. GMT/Reykjavik).

To be held in a large park near the centre of Reykjavik, all of the performances will be during daylight, with Iceland's capital city and dramatic rolling scenery providing a perfect backdrop to what is expected to be one of the biggest concerts the country has seen. The Náttúra concert looks to raise awareness of the impact of the growing aluminum smelting activity on Iceland's natural landscape.

One of Nat Geo Music's main goals is to offer artists and experts who care about global culture and the environment an outlet to create awareness for important issues. Spotlighting these amazing artists performing live in a spectacular backdrop allows our worldwide audience to enjoy great music and become aware of Iceland's environmental concerns and join the conversation," said David Beal, president of National Geographic Entertainment.

Commenting on the gig, Björk said: "Too often battles being fought for nature turn into something negative and into mudslinging. We will not go that way, we are not saying that this and that is forbidden, we are rather asking 'what about all these other possibilities?' The 21st century is not going to be another oil century but rather a century where we need to recycle, think green and design both power plants and our surroundings in harmony with nature."

Sigur Rós, who released their fifth album, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, this week, believes the issue of aluminum smelting in Iceland is one that can no longer be ignored. "We are not a political band and don't think musicians should set themselves as spokespeople on anything at all, but sometimes you see things going on in your own back yard and find that just as a human being you cannot stand by and do nothing. The changes that are going on in Iceland need to be the subject of debate and not snuck through the back door because no one lives in the wilderness and there is urban apathy or a general lack of awareness," said Sigur Rós vocalist Jón Thor Birgisson.


June 29, 2008

French Kicks / Swimming

Artist - French Kicks

Title - Swimming
Hometown - NYC
Label - Vagrant
Street Date - Out Now

RIYL - Mark Robinson fanning you with Creation Records LPs
The Hits - Abandon, Over the World, Carried Away, New Man, Love In Ruins, Sex Tourists, This Could Go Wrong
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale - Strong

This is the best record Teenbeat never released. This is what I wish Vampire Weekend actually sounded like. This is my soothing happy place when the rest of my world (AKA Richmond) is a gross sticky humid oven-like mess. Try to imagine The Doves splashing in puddles.

Many reviews blame Swimming for being too subtle, too "pastel" in its beauty, but I love the fact that there is nothing obvious screaming out at you between the verse and chorus. I am of the mindset that you don't have to be beaten upside the head with a melody or a hook to make a record work. Rather than following the all too common trend of a band pooping out a few obvious hits and then wasting every one's time with some filler spread out over the the rest of the release, French Kicks have opted for consistency rather than a punch and get out.

Long time fans of the group will not be dishing out smarmy elitist frowns because they feel the band was once poised to be the next IT band and somehow they blew it. (the press however seem to feel otherwise) The French Kicks may not have reached the ultimate point of hipsterdom but not every band needs to hit that sweet spot according to the media's eye. The spotlight doesn't make a band good. Most of the time it means one great band had better luck than another great band..or they had a bigger label, or a better publicist hyping the media up. Just ask Tapes 'n Tapes how that early media worship worked out for them in the long run. (imagine the sound of a candle's flame being snuffed out here)

To coin an unoriginal phrase, fame is fleeting. Why not just let a band (French Kicks) be good and remove the expectation that they should have been something bigger and something other. Just enjoy.

June 26, 2008

Friday Flashcard - Name that Metal Band

This group has become a favorite among some of us here at Lightning's Girl. The logo is fairly easy to read so this isn't exactly the usual concept of guess who the band is but this logo is the ultimate all encompassing perfect stamp of evil. It is the one stop shopping of devil worshipping symbols. Animal heads, multiple 6s, upside down crosses, devil tails, pointy sharp looking spikes, bat wings, a pentagram, a flame, a pitchfork and webbing. I mean really what doesn't this logo have? And if their emblem isnt' enough for you, the band is decent too.

Horna - black metal from Finland.

June 25, 2008

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds / Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!

Artist: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Title: Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
Hometown: Australia / UK
Label: Mute
Street Date: Out Now
RIYL: Nick Cave in all his artistic endeavors, David Byrne covering Lou Reed, American literary heavy weights, sex, Iggy Pop in his Sunday best, those with a fear of God and the Good Book
The Hits: Night of the Lotus Eaters, More News from Nowhere
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale - If you are me Moderate if you are everyone else Strong

God I love me some NME. Only they would have a headline like "Nick Cave: I was traumatised by the Bible."

I however would like to add to this headline "and Nick Cave states the obvious."

The man has been dropping Bible bombs in his music from day one. The only difference this time around is that Nick has ditched the piano and revisited the guitar. If you care for Nick Cave and all his Leonard Cohen ways, you will accept this new record with open arms. If you are like 99.5% of the press you will probably also give it a 9 out of 10 stars rating. If you are like me and sit on a fence about the skinny man in black, then on the fence you will remain. It sounds like the Nick Cave of the past decade to me but you can expect that kind of indifference from a barely fan. (AKA me)

Nick Cave preaches from the pulpit located somewhere on the dark side but this time the seedy under belly (Bad Seeds pun intended) calls NYC its home. Here is what Nick says about the concept behind this record:

"Ever since I can remember hearing the Lazarus story, when I was a kid, you know, back in church, I was disturbed and worried by it,” explained Cave or the record’s inspiration. “Traumatised, actually. We are all, of course, in awe of the greatest of Christ's miracles - raising a man from the dead - but I couldn't help but wonder how Lazarus felt about it. As a child it gave me the creeps, to be honest.”

The new album updates the resurrected man’s story.

Cave explained: “I've taken Lazarus and stuck him in New York City, in order to give the song, a hip, contemporary feel. I was also thinking about Harry Houdini, who spent a lot of his life trying to debunk the spiritualists who were cashing in on the bereaved. He believed there was nothing going on beyond the grave. He was the second greatest escapologist, Harry was, Lazarus, of course, being the greatest. I wanted to create a kind of vehicle, a medium, for Houdini to speak to us if he so desires, you know, from beyond the grave.” He added: “Sometimes, late at night, if you listen to the song hard enough, you can hear his voice and the sad clanking of his chains. ‘I don't know what it is but there is definitely something going on upstairs’, he seems to be saying. It is, most of all, an elegy to the New York City of the 70's."

It is only a matter of time before some city slicker takes this record and turns it into a hip musical that I would never care to see but everyone else will think is the best thing since Cats. It could happen but I pray that it doesn't.

PS: The UK pressed a limited version that comes with a 60 page book.

June 24, 2008

Islands / Arm's Way

Artist - Islands
Title - Arm's Way
Hometown - Montreal, Canaduh
Label - Anti
Street Date - Out Now
RIYL - Mars Volta on a playground
The Hits: Creeper- in a Patrick Wolf sorta way
Richter Magnitude Rating Scale- Light

Tilt-a-whirl orchestration with a falsetto crooner congo-ing towards progville - my ears are actually gagging. I didn't know it was physically possible until now but I swear it to be true. I appreciate any group who wants to get creative and go for a larger than life theatrical production but there is a fine line between complexity that works and a big bloody mess.

I hate to say it but I can't wait to take this CD out of my stereo. The cover art of a gaping wound leading into a brown acid bad fantasy world should have been a warning enough to stay clear. Next time the front of a record or CD beckons me into the anus of Roger Dean , I will remember that is not an adventure for me.

June 23, 2008

Cafeneon - S/T

Artist - Cafeneon
Title - S/T
Hometown - Belgium
Label - Station 55
Street Date - Out now
RIYL - Post-punk, Blonde Redhead, stuff in French, Peter Hook bass lines, nu-dub, beginner's shoegaze, lyrics extracted from Serge Gainsbourg material, Sonic Youth in training
The Hits - Yssandon, Snoopy, Orange
Richter Magnitude Scale - Moderate

Christian Vogel is a busy man. He is known for releasing experimental electronic music, being one half of Super_Collider with Jamie Lidell, singing / playing guitar in a new band called Night of the Brain, mixing a diverse group of artists such as Radiohead and Maximo Park, participating in sound installations, being involved in four different record labels, acting as main producer at the studio Station 55 in Barcelona... and now he has a new thing to add to resume: producing, mixing, and releasing the debut record for Cafeneon, a Belgium group .

On a surface level you have a a lot going for this band. They have Vogel as a loyalist and a bevy of sexy boy/girl vocals getting it on with a wall of noise broken down into post punk shards. As the record plays out more and more layers of the band are exposed and first enters bass driven electronic pop-dub. It is at this point that I recommend you put on your seat belt.
I initially considered the songs to be filled with exciting mercurial temperament but early on I changed my mind. This isn't whimsy at work; the songs are scattered and directionless. Half way through the record I began to wonder if perhaps my iTunes had gone into shuffle mode and hijacked my shoegaze folder but by the next track I was lost again. Is that a Joy Division riff? Did Blonde Redhead merge with the Shout Out Louds and record in Kingston, Jamaica? By the final track you are off again but this time to a helicopter based beat with Serge Gainsbourg's ghost in the drivers seat as a laser battle ensues in the distance.
It makes me car sick just thinking about all of Cafeneon's musical lane changes.

You can hear some great potential with this band (the music review equivalent of "I love you but I am not IN LOVE with you") and while some groups can't seem to surpass the energy and quality of their debut release, I think Cafeneon will find their way in a record or two. For now they are falling into the traps of a green band, hiding behind lots of pedals and their influences rather than carving out their own sound in the process. You can't disguise a band still feeling their way around... but I have faith, I really do. We just need to give them a little more time.

No Way Records Fest - Richmond, VA

Sunday, June 22 - Alley Katz - Day 2

* Guitar of choice (both days) Gibson
* Too weird - 4 different people wearing Die Kreuzen shirts - a band nobody seemed to care about back in the day
* Most referenced band of the weekend - Poison Idea
* Number of girls in bands both days- zero
* Somethings never change in hardcore -boy on boy action AKA the hug and shove, the ass tap, nipple tweak, and the cupping of the balls. Homoerotic? Maybe.
* Scariest drink - Joose Premium Malt Beverage 9.9% ALC
* Worst accessory - the bullet belt
* Highlight - Brian Walsby bringing rock and roll fantasy to life with crayola markers. For $10 he would quickly sketch you with with just about any pop culture or music legend. Want to see what you look like holding hands with E.T. and Buzz from the Melvins? This man can bring that dream to life.
* Favorite bands of the fest: Brain Handle, Warkrime, Wasted Time
*Crowd favorite: Government Warning but personally I am not into frontmen who are super play to the crowd theatrical.

Bands I remember watching:


MADD MENN (CANADA/VA) - Member of Fucked Up

The drummer of Double Negative is no other than R&R comic artist Brian Walsby.

More Goverment Warning...

One last Government Warning picture. Yeah, I was thinking I was too old for this too but then I again I said that when I saw Converge on my 34th birthday a few years ago.

June 21, 2008

This Ones For You Dave

No Way Records Fest - Richmond, VA

Saturday, June 21st - Alley Katz -day 1

* 75% male /25% female
* Most common band shirt in crowd: Government Warning
* Record most purchased at show: Direct Control - Farewell LP
* Beer of choice: PBR
* Surprise of the night - high number of metal shirts
(Sunno))), Metallica, Hellhammer, Pentagram)
* Different from last year: more people over 30
* Total Abuse didn't play but was supposed to.
* Crust punks look as silly as ever.
*Best joke of the night - singer of Warkrime commenting on the kids with bald heads and saying they look like an HBO special on Nazis.

These are the bands I saw today:



BRAIN HANDLE (PA) - One of the three best bands of Day 1. They don't do it for me on record but live was a different story - baseball jokes and band on band violence. The drummer of the band had the best homemade shirt ever. It read "I would rather be computing eligibility". Punk as fuck.

This is a hand painted case that belongs to Brain Handle.

WARKRIME (CA) - Much better to me live than recorded too - another favorite of the entire day. Sarcasm at its best.

DIRECT CONTROL (VA) - Hometown favorites (I watched them from the floor so with me being short and all, I couldn't take a clear picture of the performance.

ANNIHILATION T IME (CA) - As seen from the back of the club.

Outside the venue:

June 20, 2008

The Best Show on WFMU with Tom Scharpling : Ted Leo

Teddy Leo on the Best Show on WFMU. Just click on the archive folder that says June 3, 2008. Enjoy their brand new song called "The World Is In The Turlet".

Listeners suggest lyrics live on the radio and Teddy would in turn have less than 2 hours to craft a new song a song around the listern's lyrics.

June 19, 2008

Filthy Friday

The records in my apartment keep piling up. I don't seem to have enough hours in the day to listen to it all no less review them properly. Here are two little record reviews in the spirit of my usual Friday metal post.

Anaal Nathrakh - Hell is Empty, and all the Devils are Here - Seasons of the Mist (2007)

Anaal Nathrakh are a UK band that blast-beats together Black and Death metal. Think Brutal Truth (okay, I know they are more grind than black or death) meets Frost......... Frost!!!! I love Frost for all their wicked sickness (speed doom?!?) and a member of Anaal Nathrahk (Mick AKA Irrumator) is also in Frost. I had high hopes for Hell is Empty but I am disappointed to have spent my $$$ on a record that has only two songs I really really like. ("Until the World Stops Turning" ...which I know sounds more like an emo title than anything METAL and "Castigation and Betrayal".

Somewhere in my pile o' CDs to listen to is another record by Anaal Nathrakh so maybe that one will be better.

Akista - Sang Nordique - Hospital - Reissue of the 2002 release

It isn't every day that a black metal CD opens with something that sounds like a surf band rising from the dead. Just like the Aquarius review promised they really do sound like crust punk meets Darkthrone as well as something more retro 80's than 2000 something. Sang Nordique goes from a chainsaw hacking through mud to songs like "La Nature De Mon Pans" which is more zombie sweater pop than putrid filth. The final track "Fin" places you inside a kick drum with a French speaking demon riding a motorboat. Cool?

This might be one of the most un-Black Metal records of all time so if you are a traditionalist I would steer clear of this one but for those who aren't scared of some major mixing of genres, this comes highly recommended.

I also have to wonder what is in that French Canadian water to produce so many diverse metal bands over the past few decades.

June 18, 2008

Can You Believe It?

This guy SoundScanned over ONE MILLION copies the first week out - more than any artist has managed to do in three years ... on top of being one of only a dozen artists to debut like that in the history of recorded music.

I know the CD is supposed to be dead and all but regardless of whether you like Lil Wayne or not the guy sold 900,00 plus of physical product and slightly under 100,00 were digital sales. This enormous sales number speaks volume about the popularity of the artist rather than a freakish boom for the good old fashioned CD but I think in this day and dying age of the music industry, a million sold is a mountain moved.

And in case you wanted to know what exactly the lyrics behind the hit song "Lollipop" from his new record - check some of my favorite lines.

Uh huh I say he so sweet
Make her wanna lick the wrapper
So I let her lick the rapper...

Shawty wanna thug, thug, thug (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Bottles in the club, club, club (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Shawty wanna hump (yeah)You know I'd like to touch (yeah)
Your lovely lady lumps, lumps, lumps (she wanna lick the wrapper)...

Man, she ain't never had a love like mine
But man, I ain't never seen an ass like hers
That pussy in my mouth had me lost for words
I told her back it up like "urp, Urp"
Made that ass jump like "Jerk, Jerk"...

I get on top
She drop it like it's hot (yeah)
And when I'm at the bottom
She Hillary Rodum...

If there was any question if sex and crazy sells, well I guess the answer would be yes. What I wonder is how many kids are running around singing this painfully catchy song and thinking it is about an actual candy product. So glad I am not a parent....

Metallica Plays Basement Show : Really!

Metallica played a secret warm up show to the Bonnaroo Fest at the Nashville indie record store Grimey's.

Check out the link and pictures here.

June 17, 2008

When You Google Bjork + Black Metal

Isobel mashed with Carcass.

Sigur Ros: Preview the New Record

News to me:


LONDON/NEW YORK, June 9 - Last.fm, the CBS Corporation owned social networking music Web site, today announced that the new Sigur Rós album Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, is now globally available for fans to listen to for free in its entirety on the site today, two weeks before its official release on June 23.

Last.fm, the official online media partner of Sigur Rós for this album, will make all twelve tracks live on the site today at midday GMT. Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust - which translates as "With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly" - is the fifth studio album from the critically acclaimed Icelandic band.

Listen to it here: http://www.last.fm/music/Sigur+Rós/með+suð+í+eyrum+við+spilum+endalaust

June 16, 2008

The Soundtrack to the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Ooops. For some reason I forgot to post this. This will be my last hockey related post for at least 8 months. Promise.

As a music fan I couldn't help but take note of what songs were played during the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. Every city has their own style and collection of material; with only a few overlapping songs played at each arena. For those of you who aren't sports fans (like me 99.9% of the time), each place that hosts a sporting event has someone who DJs short clips of music when the game play is paused. For example in hockey music will be played when the teams are preparing for a face off. The music tends to be riff heavy; inspiring, comedic, or energy building.

Here are some examples of the music played over the past month of playoff games: Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Blur, Kiss, Tom Petty, Green Day, Hendrix, Elvis Costello, Iggy Pop, Quiet Riot, Social Distortion, Led Zep, Van Halen, The Ramones, The Clash, The Kingsmen, Gnarls Barkley, INXS, Men Without Hats, and various theme music from familiar favorites like Star Wars, Jaws, and the Lone Ranger. And what is it with almost every arena playing Have Nagila anyway?

I heard a lot of great music oddly enough during this year's playoffs (I knew I liked hockey for a reason) but my top 3 songs all happen to be from one Pittsburgh game:

1) Basement Jaxx - Where's Your Head At (penalty call)
2) Helmet - Unsung (face off)
3) Fugazi - Waiting Room (player sent to the penalty box)

Here is a link to general hockey playlists broken down by style, game play, point in game, and special situations.


For you Washington Capital fans out there, check out this link; you can relive the best of 2007/2008. These are the key songs they played at the Verizon centter this past season.


Clothing & Shoes

Typically I dread emails from bands on myspace who are looking to have me listen to their music page or play a show because 92% of the time they are terrible. Clothing & Shoes however fall into the slim 8% zone. They play cuddle-core mixing something that reminds me of Ben from Death Cabs vocal timbre and a UK C86 band. AKA I like them and wish I had it together enough to play a show with them.

They are trying to book a show for July 14 in Richmond, VA (I am a loser that never quite figured out how to play live without a proper band) but perhaps some kind local might be able to help them out. They are charming quiet indie rock and are the kind of group I would happily recommend to others.

June 15, 2008

Lessons Learned

These are the little pearls of knowledge I collected in Los Angeles last week during my work convention.

1) Female artists (fronting a band or solo w/guitar) are not going away any time soon- they are more popular in the music industry than ever. What worries me is that gender is often the focus rather than the talent. Just because a girl is hot doesn't mean she needs to put a record out. Also, girl singer/songwriters seem to really like using guitar capos.

2) The L.A. Amoeba DVD staff on the second floor are always remarkably informative, pleasant, and helpful. You say you like primary colors and French films of the 60's? Let me show you this.... The Amoeba music department folks aren't nearly as warm and fuzzy.

3) "Soup to nuts" is the worst industry jargon of all time

4) Employees cannot live on sugar alone. Piles of it are positioned in easy to reach bowls all over the room and then handed out between presentations . There appears to be some wild misinformation that sugar pills digested hourly will keep a crowd fresh and focused. A massive room sized sugar crash is no prettier with kids the day after Halloween than it is with a bunch of people over 30 in the third floor conference room. Seriously you event planner types - look into getting fruit and trail mix...pretty much anything that doesn't come in bright blue and neon green will do.

5) The new Thievery Corporation full length coming late September on ESL is their best record to date and features Femi Kuti, Anoushka Shankar, Chuck Brown (of DC Go-Go fame), Seu Jorge, and more. I heard a lot, I mean A LOT of new music this week but this one blew me away and woke me from my mini M&Ms and gummy squids sugar comma.

6) Consider yourself warned indie labels: any label who wishes to release a new full length album from a key artist to a digital store first can pretty much kiss good-bye any support from the physical music retailers of the world. Even with the exclusive bonus material offered as an olive branch to the indie retailers in CD or LP form...a month long iTunes advantage will have every store but Apple's up in arms. The lesson to be learned, the game of exlusives is a dangerous one.

7) Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel fame playing solo with just a guitar and a raspy tired voice (that's what happens when you make an artist play when the sun is still out and they are still recovering from the late night before) sounds unbelievably like early Bevis Frond. Sadly when I asked Rob if he knew Bevis Frond at all, he knew the name but not the music. I promised him that it was a compliment, which to me it really is.

8) Ugly people seriously don't make music anymore. Where have all the ugly rockers gone? Oh right.....metal.

9) Vinyl is the new Mp3

10) This video clip about VP Records (found below) was my favorite visual of the week.

June 13, 2008

Friday Flashcard - Name that Metal Band

Quebec Canada offers ____, a band whose 2002 album Sang Nordique "is mainly about national identity, globalization, exploitation and other political matters."

This band makes oddball black metal who also happen to have a logo with a skinhead pirate vibe.

Hot. I mean Arrgghhhh.

June 12, 2008

Reality Check

Los Angeles is such a surreal place to me. Things that I would never expect to happen in a million years seem to all fall into place like toy soldiers.

Last Night I:

A) Had the singer of Sugar RayMark McGrath apologize after playing a spontaneous show at a tiny work party we had last night above the Roxy. He was certain they weren't my type of music. He then tried to guess that maybe I prefered Interpol or Fall Out Boy where I had to reply honey if I wanted to listen to Joy Division I would and I don't like bands who wear more eyeliner than me. Mark proceeded to insist we were meant to carry on this conversation over dinner and wine when luckily my boss who had introduced us in the first place stepped in and ushered me away to the next work event down the street.

B) Met with Elliott Yamin who sang a few songs at another private work party. He had recently lost his mother and buried her in a part of Richmond called Church Hill. Being from Richmond it was a strange moment to meet this complete stranger famous to the world (but I have never watched American Ido so I can't say it was any different than meeting anyone else new) and know I was probably the only one in the room could visualize the exact location of such a sobering experience for him.

C) Watch Everlast of House of Pain play a short set at the same private party. Who knew that guy still was around no less working on a new record?

D) All of the above.

The answer is D

June 11, 2008

Brain Dead

I am still in L.A. for work and already absolutely brain dead from 14 hours of presentations, meetings, and artist performances. One day down with two more to go! I wish I had the energy to post at 3:30 AM East Coast time but alas I do not. My head is in information overload mode point I have one stray factoid to share that I was unaware of until today.

The Kiss logo which usually features the lightning bolt looking double "S" is banned in Germany to this day because the "ss" is a little too close to the the Nazi Waffen-SS logo. Keeping this in mind, the band...IE their label and marketing people, have to modify their famous font when they release albums or tour in that country.

I've never been much of a Kiss fan so this could be a stupid super obvious piece of trivia to most people but I had never heard it confirmed from an official source until now.

PS: Shopping at Amoeba tonight was a kick as I ended up shopping next to Hank AKA Henry Rollins three different times.

June 9, 2008

Jello Biafra Turns 50

There's a good interview with Jello Biafra on The Morning news.


The surprise for me came at the end the article - Jello's celebrating his 50th birthday. I only saw the Dead Kennedys once in 1986 - relatively late in their career. Nonetheless, when I think of punk rock, I still think of a guy with one green latex glove.

June 8, 2008

Hindsight is 20/20

Quite a number of CDs, LPs, 7"ers, and MP3s have entered my home since Jan 1 of this year but few have remained in my keep pile and even fewer are releases I find myself really going back to more than just a couple of times. The tricky and truthful thing about reviewing records is that how a record strikes you is part actual quality of music and part the kind of day you are having, the time of day you are listening to it, and the environment you are listening to it in. On a day where I have heard 12 painfully awful CDs, a just okay one suddenly becomes the ear version of a knight in shining armor only this time the armor is a shiny disc thing.

This list is me checking back in half way through the year and examining what has lasted the span of these six months as a keeper, what has made it to my donation pile, and what I still can't stop listening to.

This won't be an exact list as I have music scattered all over my apartment. I am sure to have forgotten / misplaced several 2008 records so consider this a close but not totally perfect reflection of newbie records and how they have held up (or not) through the year thus far post my original review.

These are the CDs I haven't haven't listened to again months IE won't make my end of year top 10 and I haven't decided if I will hold onto:

Glorytellers - S/T - Southern Records
Silje Nes - Ames Room - Fat Cat Records
Kate Nash - Made of Bricks - Geffen (didn't review but liked okay)
VA - Bippp - Everloving Inc.
Lykke Li - Novels - LL Recordings
VA - Papagayo - Toytown Recordings
Tapes 'N Tapes - Walk it Off - XL
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra...-13 Blues For Thirteen Moons - Constellation
VA - Messthetics - Hyped to Death
Monade - Monstre Cosmic - Too Pure
Le Loup - The Throne of ... - Hardly Art
Pram - The Moving Frontier - Domino
Clinic - Do It ! - Domino
School of Language - Sea From Shore - Thrill Jockey
Jane Weaver - Cherlokalate - B-Music
Evangelista - Hello, Voyager - Constellation

In the donation pile:

Thao with the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All - Kill Rock Stars
Ladytron - Velocifero - Sinnamon Records
Roots - Rising Down - Def Jam
The Last of the Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement - Domino (review coming soon)
Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead - Sub Pop
M83 - Saturdays = Youth - Mute
El Guincho - Alegranze - Discoteca Océano
The Kills - Midnight Boom - Domino
Sun Kil Moon - April - Caldo Verde
The Teenagers - Reality Check - XL
Times New Viking - Rip it Off - Matador
Cat Power - Jukebox- Matador

The list of records I am a still going steady with is coming up in a few days. I am off to LA for work all week so if any of you fellow Lightning's Girl bloggers feel like stepping up to the plate, please do!

What I have learned from the above lists - Domino and I are having relationship issues.

June 5, 2008

Friday Flashcard : Name that Metal Band

It's a tree, it's a tree's roots, it's a man covered in lightning, it's a heart with long arms, four legs, and a small head.....no...it's the logo of a California one man atmospheric metal band called...

Ladytron / Velocifero

Artist - Ladytron
Title - Velocifero
Hometown - UK
Label - Sinnamon Records
Street Date - Out Now
RIYL - Goldfrapp, Bulgaria (2 songs are song in Bulgarian - Mira's native tongue) T Rex in the disco, why oh why won't electro-clash die?, "You're So Vain" with glow sticks,

The Hits - Season of Illusions, Tomorrow

Richter Magnitude Scale - Moderate

I hope you really like the song "Mad World" by Tears for Fears because you basically will hear 13 versions of it remixed on Velocifero. "Mad World" is a great song so in way this is a backhanded compliment but not exactly what I would call this the best record of the year either.

June 3, 2008

Wayman Tisdale

There are two subjects I don't think I have ever mentioned before in a post - in my history of posting - and I am about to kill two with one stone. Smooth Jazz and basketball.

I have just returned from a 10 hour day on the road / helping out with an artist in-store relating to my day job. The in-store was with Wayman Tisdale who was once best known for being an American professional basketball player for the Pacers as well as an Olympic gold medal winner in 1984 as a member of the USA basketball team. Now he is a bass player / vocalist / producer and has released a brand new record today call Rebound.

It is nearly midnight and I am too wiped out to work on a record review. Instead I thought it would be fun to share this ridiculous picture of me with Wayman so you can see just how tall he is and how small I am in relation to him. To be clear I am not crouching down, I am bending forward a little bit, and seriously he is that gi-normous. Wayman is popular with the ladies and sports fans so we made plenty of jokes about me playing body guard this afternoon and the fact that I could protect his shins at best.

It would be a lie to say I know much about Smooth Jazz but I can promise you that I have never and I mean NEVER worked with a nicer artist in my whole life. I spent the day laughing and listening to his great stories. The man is incredibly humble and as down to earth as can be. I usually hate in-stores because a million things can / do go wrong but today was an absolute pleasure.

Torche / Meanderthal

Artist- Torche
Title - Meanderthal
Hometown - FL / GA
Label - HHI
Street Date - Now

RIYL - Cavity, Karp with more vocal melodies, Floor, Melvins, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters on steroids, Drive Like Jehu, Kyuss covering Jawbox, Quicksand

The Hits - Jump in your car and play the whole thing over and over again.

Richter Magnitude Rating Scale - Major

Some people regard their high school years as the best years of their lives but I am not one of those people; plus peaking before you are 20 is just sad. All those years ago I was mocked for having L7 like dreads and for wearing shirts that said things like "Touch Me I'm Sick." I was the first and only girl with a tattoo in my small high school and rather than study I spent my evenings going to see bands play in Hoboken, NJ and NYC alone. The week I passed my drivers license I went to see New Order, PIL, and the Sugarcubes play at the Meadowlands Arena and shop at Pier Platters, the best indie record store on the East Coast at the time. When I finally did make friends my senior year they were all older than me and from a different county in NY; just over the Jersey state line. If we weren't going to shows we sat around drinking cheap beer* in the woods somewhere but no matter what we were doing, there was music involved. Mixed tapes were a part of our every waking moment together (especially in our cars) Punk, hardcore, grunge, indie rock, and metal stretched across side A on over to side B was our permanent soundtrack. The different genres were blended together as if they were one big happy underground music family.

My memories of those teenage years are almost entirely music related and I suppose my passion for music has shadowed me ever since.

Towards my late teens and early twenties heavy bands started to dabble with mixing in melody. Seaweed, Jawbox, Quicksand, Soundgarden, and Nirvana are all great examples of this cross pollination. Torche takes one of the only likable aspects of that time in my life, a culmination of many of my early favorite bands, and manages to squish them all into one record-Meanderthal. Every song makes me want to hop in my car, crank the volume as high as it will go and wander the back streets of Bergen and Rockland county looking for a place to drink luke warm cases of beer in the privacy of a heavily wooded area.

Torche consistently hammers out heavy, I mean HEAVY riffs but then sneaks in vocals timed like Karp but bathed in masculine melodies. They are the Melvins fronted by J Robbins. They are Chavez opening for Slint. They are the best of the 90's minus all the faux pas like heroin chic rap-metal.

*Drinking before the age of 21 is the only rebellious/naughty thing I did as a teen but I look at my punishment to be the fact that we mostly drank awful bottom of the barrel crap that was more water than anything else. Kids - don't try this at home, wait until you are old enough to afford good beer!

June 2, 2008

Sex Pistols Ready Live DVD - I Get Bored Just Typing About This Story


The Obits Make a Muxtape

In a Muxtape world Obits and I would totally be BFFs.


The Helio Sequence / Keep Your Eyes Ahead

Artist - The Helio Sequence
Title - Keep Your Eyes Ahead
Hometown - Portland, OR
Label - Sub Pop
Street Date - Out now
RIYL - an ear for detail, an ex-member of Modest Mouse
who can't shake that MM sound, indie bands produced like a top 40 Alterna-group (think Coldplay)
The Hits - "Hallelujah"
Richter Magnitude Scale - Moderate

The Pitchfork review (which in all honestly isn't all that different from the band's Sub Pop bio) got me thinking. What did I really think of this new release by Helio Sequence without being forced fed information about it? Even the best music journalist can get easily brainwashed by the smoke and mirrors of a well written press kit or one sheet. (one sheet = 1 page worth of bullet points about the record)

What I hear on Keep Your Eyes Ahead is a band that has matured nicely and tried to push boundaries over the years but what really struck me was the lack of space on this record. This duo has managed to erase the two-man band sound and gone for epic production values that overdress even their most bare boned material.

A friend of mine who worked on my last record gave me perhaps one of the best tips a songwriter could be given. He told me to stop singing over everything in order to give the music a chance to breathe. It had never occurred to me that every song I wrote was crammed to death with words and vocal melodies but it was true. Too much singing - even if the voice is decent and or has something important to say- will suffocate the music to death. Keep Your Eyes Ahead suffers from this same problem.

Once I decided there was too much singing it is now all I can hear. I am desperate for some breathing room and there isn't much to spare on this record. I can no longer pay attention to the lyrics, their instrumentation, or their song structure because my ears are too busy drowning in the sound of a man who can't seem to keep it zipped. And no, we are not talking pants - get your mind out of the gutter.

My suggestions for Helio Sequence record: put down the harmonica, step away from the mic, and meditate on the magic that a two piece can create rather than aiming to sound like the super-group line up of a Live Aid concert finale.